Merry Christmas From Our Home To Yours!


Photo Shoot

Here's a favorite pic from our Saturday morning photo shoot done by NSMPHOTO!
(Can you tell we like our boots in this family?)


For The Kids: Homemade Gnomes

Look who we found living on our back steps!

Four little fall gnomes apparently moved in and set up house.

We decided to make a few gnome dolls today after school. What you need is simple:

  1. Felt
  2. People shaped wood turnings. You can find these in the unfinished wood section of craft stores. Or here.
  3. Thread
  4. Needle
You will need to cut your felt in a triangle shape for the hat. Just make the bottom of the triangle big enough to go around the head. I cut out a trapezoid shape for the cape and curved out the top a little to fit around the neck.
We sewed our decorative designs on the felt first. Then I did a few stitches to secure the cape. For the hat I sewed the opposite sides of the triangle together, leaving the bottom open. That's it. VERY easy-in fact my almost 6 year old did the decorative sewing on hers (the yellow one).
You could glue the hat to the head if you wish.
All the kids need to add is their imagination and bits and pieces from nature. A great way to spend a fall day!

If you're curious about the houses: here's a link to where I purchased them
Gnome Sweet Home


Happy Halloween!

Hello all!
Are you ready for the trick-or-treaters?
Our "Beggars Night" was Friday, so we've been there and done that!
I thought I would share a few pics. And here are the pics from last year!
We're almost done with my husbands office space, and then I can get back to projects for our home. So hang on, I hope to be back in a little while with LOTS to share!


Late Summer At Our House


Ipod Template

Finally, I can cross this off my to-do list!
A lot of you have emailed me requesting the ipod template for this project I did...while I love hearing from you...I think having this available will be more convenient for YOU!
(Oh, I still would love to hear from you!)


Checking In

August is in full swing already! Can you believe it!?!

I noticed it's been 2 whole months since I last posted...

We've been really busy this summer with:

1. My husband is opening his own dental practice! We're hoping to be open by the end of September. We are busy doing the remodeling of the space right now. We're hopefully going to start painting next week.

2. We have decided to homeschool this year. We'll be jumping right in with a 3rd grader and a Kindergartner.

3. When we have a spare moment we have been enjoying the new aquatic center our town has.

I snapped a few pics of my summer decor {to help me remember when it comes time to decorate next year} and thought I would share with you!

1. Our little nook. The red oars I found at the flea market. The jute bags were free. The red bag came fromm the Hobby Lobby clearance. My mom helped me make the red ticking pillows. The bench was free from a sweet friend!

2. I found the boat at a garage sale! The person having the sale built these for a hobby and was getting rid of some of them! The black chest was also from a garage sale. It loooked nothing like this when it came home with was miss matched wood and really ugly. I painted it black and stenciled the numbers on it.

3.Our front door. The basket is from a garage sale-.25 cents! I bought the plant at the nursery and put it in a gallon bag. It worked great and has been very happy welcoming our visitors!

4. The extra little flags I had all went into an old glass jar.

5. This flag is from a garage sale. It was an old farm gate that I painted to look like a flag.

6. Red geranium plant on our island.

7. Both the scale and the "feedsack"is from garage sales.

8. A wood box I picked up at the thrift store. Everything in it is from garage sales...except the shells and sand...which came from a family vacation to the beach.

As you can tell I mostly decorate with garage sale finds...I'm constantly amazed at what I can find...and with a little cash, patience and some vision I can decorate my house on a low budget!


Great Prints

These prints are great! Love the verse and the simplicity. You can find them here!
How's June been so far for everyone? My preschooler finished school last Friday and my 2nd grader finally finished today...yeah! So tonight, to celebrate, we are having an "Official 3rd Graders Only" slumber party. I am officially neck deep in girls (as opposed to my usual waist deep)! Anywho, life is good and exciting around here. Hope June has started great for you too!


Garage Sale!

Come one, come all!
We are having ourselves a garage sale!
LOTS AND LOTS for sale.
Friday 10-6
Saturday 7:30-12
My neighbor is having one at the same time.
Garage sale efficiency!
Hope to see you there!


Just Something I Made...

I realized I forgot to show you all this...

It's a wooden sign made from a vintage ad I found!

I made it at the very beginning of May... it was a very easy task, just a little time consuming. Here's my process:

  1. I emailed the original ad to our local print shop and had them enlarge it to about 36"x36".
  2. Had my husband make me a wooden square and then I painted it white.
  3. Taped my enlarged print to the painted square.
  4. Used a jumbo sheet of carbon/transfer paper (I found mine in the canvas aisle at Hobby Lobby) to transfer the image onto the painted wood sign. Just put transfer paper under the print paper and trace around your image and words with a pen or pencil.
  5. Your pen or pencil will push down on the carbon paper and transfer your image onto the wood sign. Once your all done transferring...
  6. Usually I would use paint to fill in my transferred image...but this time I used a black sharpie and was very happy with the results.

All total, the project cost me under $5!

That's it! Easy peasy!


Tag Sale Alert!

I wanted to share with you all (who live in central iowa) a great tag sale!
Look what I found there today:

Letter Basket-$5...Bowling Pin-$3

This sale is held once in the spring and once in the fall. Past purchases include:

A little tray table for beside my bathtub. Cost-$3

Little foot stool/table between chairs in Master Bedroom. Cost- $10 or 15

Ladder for blankets in the Great Room. Cost- $15.
The sale is spread throughout 3 buildings on a farm. The buildings are overflowing with all kinds of treasures...
The sale is located 2 miles off of Highway 30 in between Colo and State Center.
25909 740th Ave.
State Center, IA 50247
Friday, May 7th, 9-5
Saturday, May 8th, 9-5


Kitchen Progress

Hello All!
Just checking in to share some of what's been happening around here lately!
Between lots going on and the awesome weather, sitting in front of the computer has fallen to the bottom of the list!
My husband and his brother, Dan, made a lot of progress on the "long list of little things" for the kitchen. There's still more on it...but there's progress...and that's a beautiful thing!
Finishing touches on the range hood!

Almost finished with the island! And I think I've finally decided on the stools!

Beadboard backplash was made!
We painted it white...but I'm considering painting it our wall color "Believable Buff"


For Your Browsing Pleasure...

I decided to add a category to my sidebar...
all those projects that I come across on other sites and would someday like to get to.
I just started, so there's just a few, but check it often!


Vintage Printables for Your Walls

I had to share my 2 favorite sites for vintage printables and graphics...
Print them at home... email them to a copy center. Frame them...decoupage them to something! Have fun!

Check out this ad I found over at The Graphics Fairy !

The bicycle first caught my eye...but then the name of the wheel makers stopped me in my tracks! Apparently there's wheel makers on my husbands side of the family! I am thinking of actually paying to get this printed off huge, and making a big vintage sign out of it!



Chicken was recently on sale at our local I decided to stock up a little.
I usually watch the prices on the boneless skinless chicken breasts and the whole chickens. A sale for the local grocery store is usually .99/lb. for a whole chicken and 1.99/lb for boneless skinless breasts. (Which makes it very comparable to a bag of frozen breasts, only these are fresh...and much better quality)
I thought I would share with you what I do when I stock up and my favorite way to cook a whole chicken.
  • I get my kitchen scissors out and cut away extra fat and lay them 3 split breasts to a freezer bag and place that bag in the freezer. That way I can just grab one bag to use in a recipe that feeds our family.
  • You could also "flash freeze" the breasts by laying the individual breasts out on baking sheets (make sure the breasts are not touching) and placing the baking sheets in the freezer. Once the breasts are frozen, take the breasts off the sheets and place all the breasts in one big freezer bag...that way you can grab the number of breasts you need each time you cook.
  • Also, when I return from the store after stocking up on chicken breasts, I fill my crockpot up with chicken breasts. I place a little water in the crockpot and then turn it on. 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 on low is a good guide. Once it's done cooking I shred the meat in the crockpot or on a plate with two forks. I then measure out 2 cups of shredded chicken (since this is a common measurement in a lot of my recipes) and fill quart freezer bags with my 2 cups of chicken and place those bags in the freezer. This simple step can really speed up meal prep time!
  • Cooking a whole chicken or two ahead and de-boning and shredding is another way to do it...but I would only pick to do this if I was going to make my own chicken stock....I haven't done this enough to have a good recipe to recommend at this point, but maybe in the future I will!

I will share with you my absolute favorite way to cook a whole chicken for a meal...and it's a great recipe for company. It's actually a 2 part recipe and you will have to plan a little ahead. The first step is to brine the meat. Brining is simply a seasoned water solution that the chicken sits in (for 12-48 hours) While the chicken is sitting in the solution it absorbs the flavors of the seasonings and the the meat a flavor and juiciness that is tremendous! If I'm brining for a day or more, I will put the chicken in the solution will have plenty of time to thaw.

Here's the brine recipe I use:

Master Brine

After it's done brining I use this recipe to roast it for 5 hours! I really think it's worth it!

Roast Sticky Chicken

I usually do the rub right before putting it in the oven. The other thing I've learned is to use a roaster that the chicken just fits into (touching the sides). I'm not sure's just works! Sometimes I baste or spoon some of the pan drippings over the chicken a few times during the baking, but it's not necessary!



Organizing the Transients

That feels really good to say that...winter here was one of the worst on record...
it never felt "that bad" when we got to stay indoors...but it did start feeling loonnnnnggggg. March gives me hope of warmer days ahead!
I still can't upload pics to this it will be another link for you all today!
I found this great organizing idea for items that are just "passing through" your house.
You could replace the boxes with baskets if it is in a very visible spot.
You could translate this idea into a space in your coat closet (I think that is what I will do).
She also has this idea, which I thought was another good one!
Reminds me a little of how my sis does it in her laundry room


Two For The Calender

I found this shop on etsy...which led me to this website....which led me to this little tidbit of information:

Best news is...they are located in Central Iowa...yeah!

The Whatcheer Flea Market is the other one on my calender!

I've never been to the Old Crow Market before, so I can't tell you what to expect for prices.

The Whatcheer Flea Market prices fall here:

Cheapest to Most Expensive:

  1. Garage Sales
  2. Thrift Stores
  3. Consignment Shops
  4. Flea Markets

Flea Markets are usually the most expensive out of the 4...but you have so much to pick from and lots and lots of very unique items!



Oh how I love this print...
the colors...
the words...
but mostly the fact that it reminds me of my dad...sunshine is the nickname he gave me as a little girl...and he still calls me it today!


Dress The Walls

Wallpaper or fabric attached to a frame.
(look for cheap frames at the thrift store and paint them the same color)
Big style for little money!


Bowling Birthday Invites

Just came across these invites, and I thought they would be perfect for a funky sock bowling party!
(I would probably opt out of a picture like that for an invitation...but you can do whatever!)

Find the invite here!


Another Birthday Party

I came across this picture recently:

The story behind it was this:

a little girl (I think a 7 year old) was having a birthday....she wanted to go bowling. Each of the guests received an invite and a funky pair of knee socks. Each girl coordinated her outfit for the party with the knee socks she received (and wore bowling).

I love this idea! My oldest will turn 9 (wow!) on her next birthday. She's outgrowing the little girl birthday my eyes are always open for creative ideas like this!

Full details here!


Pretty, Pretty Prints

Aren't these prints just lovely?
Clean, simple and colorful!

Guess what....they're free too! Of course, you'll have to print them out yourself...

Go here...pick your favorite print!



Cupcake Kits

I came across these super cute cupcake kits at Plum Party.
Each kit costs $11.95 and is enough for 24 cupcakes.
There are 19 different kits to pick from...
Check them out here!


Pioneer Girl Party

Wow...those pioneers sure know how to throw a party!
I know 2 little girls, who live in this very house, that would love this party!
Find all the details here!


On The Hunt...

Why didn't I think of this before ?!!??!!

A vintage index card drawer for my everything about this idea! My favorite look is vintage industrial...but that is a look that can be hard on the wallet...but adding little touches like this is very affordable! Now I just have to keep my eyes open for one...any hot tips?

And laminating my recipe cards that I would put in here....icing on the cake!

The other item(s) on my wish list is:

Vintage Mailboxes
We hung up a big bulletin board in the hall between our mudroom and kitchen...for the girls to display their creations. I think a row of vintage for each kid...would be so sweet under the bulletin board.
Any tips on that request?


Another Edible Ipod

I've gotten a few requests for my ipod template in the last week...and it reminded me of where the inspiration for ours came from...

Sorry for the lack of posting...both of our computers decided to stop working for us at the same time! Our laptop officially cannot be repaired and our desktop needed to be completely emptied and restarted from scratch. It's almost 10 years old, so it's not the fastest thing out there. It eventually will be solely for the kids use, once we buy a new laptop. My camera software was on the that's why no pics to share. Thanks for you patience and for sticking around!


Ladies...Start Your Saws!

Nicole shared a GREAT blog with me the other day...

Knock Off Wood
It's called Knock-Off Wood. If you can build, would like to learn or have someone in you life that just loves to build you things...than this is the blog for you!
Truly inspiring!


Did You Even Know?

Look what I found! Chalkboard paint in a whole lot of different colors...24 to be exact! Check out Hudson Paint to view them all! I've seen black, green and blue before...but this blows my mind!

And don't forget about Martha....she came up with instructions on how to make your own custom colored chalkboard paint! Check it out here!



Are you familiar with
If not, you should be ;)
When we were building our house, I would find a sink or faucet I liked and then would search for the best price, and usually that search would lead me to overstock. (plus shipping is very affordable, and often free!)
Below is the sink we picked for our powder room. I saved about $75 on it, compared to the one I found on ebay!
(click on pics to be taken to the page)
I thought this bed was very vintage looking...and you can't find a true vintage bed in a queen size!

Here's the best surprise I discovered while shopping at
I think Pottery Barn sends them their unsold light fixtures!
I was looking through a PB catalog that was about a year or two old and saw the middle chandelier below....for twice as much as what overstock was now selling it for!

Other ways I make more affordable is:
I do a google search for coupon codes. Usually I could find a 10% off code.
I start my purchase at Big Crumbs for another 6.3% back.


Another Christmas Post?

Yes, I'm doing it again....another post about Christmas.
This time I thought I would share with you a gift(s) that I received this year...
I LOVE all of them...but if I had to pick a favorite (picture, not child) it would be the last one, of my little 2 year old Sophia.
It captures so much...the sweet days of pigtails and baby curls....of her sitting on my lap and me putting my nose in her hair that smells still of baby shampoo.
The messy craziness that is Sophia.
The artist, Leia, is a friend of my sister (who was the gift giver). She's a very talented artist who has a blog and an etsy shop. Check her out.
Those beauties are still not hung up though...I know exactly where I will put them...but am waiting to do a wall collage until I find the right piece of furniture to hang them above.
Side note...a batch of these just came out of the oven...I may have a burned tongue in a few minutes!
(FYI-I omit about a 1/4 cup of oatmeal and replace it with ground flax seed)


Solution: Laundry Day

Check this out:

a cute furniture piece that does double duty as a dirty laundry organizer! Love it! You could put this in a hallway and no one would know the dirt it hides.

You could even change out the knobs on it to label pulls that you could label with words or colors for the littlest to sort their laundry for you!

Find it here...along with a single, double and triple. In white, black or wood. Whatever your needs are!

Here are some more hamper furniture pieces...whatever your style or color preference is.


Our Homemade Christmas

Christmas is fact Christmas decorations were taken down yesterday.
But, I realized I hadn't shown the homemade gifts we gave each other on Christmas Eve.

Below: my husband made a puppet theater for all 3 girls. Chalkboard on the top to write the name of the show and curtains with stars. This has also been used already for a store.

Below: For Sophia, I found an unfinished dollhouse at Gordman's for $14.99! It came with all the furniture and 2 dolls! I just used paint and fabric I already had. Wall artwork came from gardening and a Land of Nod catalog!

2 Pictures below: The silk scarves that Ella (age 5)made for her sisters. We used the basic instructions here. Used the 22x 72" silk scarves from here. Used rubber bands to make the white lines that separated the colors.
Ella made one for Hannah and one for Sophia. I surprised her with one I made.

Something I did learn in making these:
I decided to do some in bright colors and some in pastels (example red and pink) I thought what was important was how long I left the scarves in the color (example: take the one I wanted pink out of the dye before the one I wanted red) What I learned was that whatever one you put in first will pick up the majority of the color immediately...making it the more intense one. So the one I wanted red went in first, and a little later went the one I wanted pink.
I also rinsed in my sink like the instructions said. But I also sent each scarf individually through the rinse cycle on my washer. Then I dried it on the absolute lowest setting in my dryer.

Below: Sophia (age 2 1/2) made these playsilks for her sisters. We used the same instructions we used above. I purchased the 35x 35 silk. I ended up leaving one un-dyed(white) to be used as a veil, snow, etc.
I had seen these around a lot the last few years...but never really thought my kids would use these. It was only until I started noticing that they had this one yard of scrape fabric that I was constantly tying for a dress, cape, skirt, baby blanket, the list goes on and on. This has been the most played with Christmas day the long scarves became hammocks for the all the (stuffed) animals at the rescue center.
Below: Hannah (age 8) made tied-fleece blankets for her sisters. She picked out the fabric (pattern on one side and solid on the other) I cut all the "fringe" for her to tie. The narrow fringe ties better than a thicker fringe. This was a perfect project for an 8 year old +.
Sophia's Blanket above

Below: I secretly made Hannah her own blanket. With the fabric that she liked when we were buying for her sisters.
Below:Ella's blanket.
These blankets are sooo warm...double thickness of cozy!
Here's another example of a semi-homemade Christmas gift. I love the idea...but mostly the thoughtfulness, the knowing of that particular child, that went into it.
Designmom is where I first came across the idea of the homemade Christmas gifts. Here is her list of some her kids have made in the past.

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